September 19, 2017

Tough as Leather

  | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

| Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Chamaedaphne calyculata likes a good peat bog. This broadleaf evergreen shrub thrives in bog and fen locations, its rhizomes extending up to a foot below ground level and setting the stage for its ability to “anchor” itself even in floating peat. Known as leatherleaf for its leathery, narrow leaves, the plant is a member of the heath family, with leatherleaf the only species in its genus. The shrub, photographed here at Baxter State Park in September, can top 4 feet in height and blossoms in the early spring with urn-shaped flowers that are produced in panicles. Leatherleaf serves a greater purpose in the bog as its rhizomes extend the bog mat for other species to settle in to a stable environment. It also provides cover for some nesting ducks.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

Earlier in 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken earlier this year, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

Earlier in 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken earlier this year, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.